A producer for Tucker Carlson Tonight claims that Fox lawyers set up Maria Bartiromo and herself as scapegoats in Dominion’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against the network.
Fox News producer Abby Grossberg, formerly a producer for Maria Bartiromo, has filed two new lawsuits against Fox News and was also sued by the network in a case that was quickly dropped.
Yes, it’s hard to keep up with all the legal trouble for the Murdoch network. But The New York Times does a good job of breaking it down:
The producer, Abby Grossberg, said Fox lawyers had tried to position her and Ms. Bartiromo to take the blame for Fox’s repeated airing of conspiracy theories about Dominion Voting Systems and its supposed role in manipulating the results of the 2020 presidential election.
In her complaints, Ms. Grossberg accuses lawyers for Fox News of coaching her in “a coercive and intimidating manner” before her September deposition in the Dominion case. The lawyers, she said, gave her the impression that she had to avoid mentioning prominent male executives and on-air talent to protect them from any blame, while putting her own reputation at risk.
Just before Grossberg’s suits were filed (one in New York, one in Delaware, where the Dominion case is to be tried), Fox filed its own suit against her, claiming her suits threatened to reveal privileged information about the network’s attorney-client privilege. Then, the next day, Fox dropped its suit.
NPR’s David Folkenflik has more on Grossberg’s allegations:
The lawsuit says Grossberg left prep sessions believing she should give evasive answers when questioned and avoid talking about what she felt was a lack of staffing and support on Bartiromo's show.
"Ms. Grossberg left the deposition preparation sessions without knowing that by giving such false/misleading and evasive answers like the ones Fox's legal team reacted to positively to during the prep sessions, she not only opened herself up to civil and criminal liability for perjury, but was subtly shifting all responsibility for the alleged defamation against Dominion onto her shoulders, and by implication, those of her trusted female colleague, Ms. Bartiromo, rather than the mostly male higher ups at Fox News who endorsed the repeated coverage of the lies against the Dominion," Grossberg's lawsuit filed in federal court states. (The New York Times reports Grossberg also filed suit in state court in Delaware.)
Grossberg also alleges that male colleagues were permitted to review and correct the transcripts of their depositions shortly after being questioned, yet she was not given that opportunity until after Dominion had cited her in its legal briefs.
Then there are Grossberg's allegations of sexism and anti-semitism on the Tucker Carlson Tonight show. More from The Times:
Last year, she began working as a senior booking producer at “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” On her first full day, according to the lawsuit, Ms. Grossberg discovered that the show’s Manhattan work space was decorated with large pictures of Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, then the House speaker, wearing a plunging swimsuit.
The next day, Justin Wells, Mr. Carlson’s top producer, called Ms. Grossberg into his office, she said, to ask whether Ms. Bartiromo was having a sexual relationship with the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy.
Mr. Carlson’s staff joked about Jews and freely deployed a vulgar term for women, according to the complaint.
Later that fall, it said, before an appearance on the show by Tudor Dixon, the Republican candidate for Michigan governor, Mr. Carlson’s staff held a mock debate about whether they would prefer to have sex with Ms. Dixon or her Democratic opponent, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Media Matters, which notes Carlson’s long history of misogyny, has more:
Grossberg’s lawsuit details numerous other reported instances of sexual harassment and demeaning comments about women from Carlson’s staff, including a producer stating that a Republican member of Congress only got elected “because she fucked the person who had the job before her,” two producers saying that one of Grossberg’s female subordinates should sleep with a guest to get him booked, and a producer mocking the appearance of another female staffer.
Color me shocked – not!
Nobody deserves harassment and I can fully believe that Grossberg is being set up as a scapegoat. But the fact of the matter is, she was an integral part of Fox’s deceit about the 2020 election. Media Matters sums up:
Whatever the merits of Grossberg’s claims about how Fox’s lawyers treated her, other evidence unearthed in the Dominion case has also demonstrated her clear role in spreading conspiracy theories. Her text messages with network anchor Maria Bartiromo show the degree to which she both credulously believed easily debunked conspiracy theories, while she simultaneously made a calculation to push false election fraud claims in order to court Fox News viewers. In a text message on November 29, 2020, Grossberg told Bartiromo that “our audience doesn’t want to hear about a peaceful transition,” then on November 30 she criticized other hosts who appeared to be giving less coverage to the purported election fraud: “74M people voted for Trump. That’s a lot of potential viewers. They’re all missing the boat.”
A pox on all their houses.
(image via screen grab)